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Computational Science, Engineering & Technology Series
ISSN 1759-3158
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping, G. Montero, R. Montenegro
Chapter 1

Ambient Intelligence and Its Potential for Future Learning and Virtual Product Creation Environments

A.K. Noor

Center for Advance Engineering Environments, Old Dominion University, Norfolk VA, United States of America

Full Bibliographic Reference for this chapter
A.K. Noor, "Ambient Intelligence and Its Potential for Future Learning and Virtual Product Creation Environments", in B.H.V. Topping, G. Montero, R. Montenegro, (Editors), "Innovation in Engineering Computational Technology", Saxe-Coburg Publications, Stirlingshire, UK, Chapter 1, pp 1-22, 2006. doi:10.4203/csets.15.1
Keywords: ambient intelligence, ubiquitous computing, ubiquitous communications, intelligent interfaces, smart rooms, intelligent learning hubs, ambient learning space, virtual product creation, PLM.

A brief description is given of the concept, the key characteristics, and the enabling technologies of Ambient Intelligence, along with some of the future interface and display technologies.

The potential applications of AmI technologies in smart rooms, future learning and virtual product creation environments are discussed.

The AmI concept emerged form the work of the Advisory Group to the European Community Information Technology (ISTAG) in the late 1990s. It refers to the vision that technology will become embedded in the natural surroundings and invisible; present whenever needed; enabled by simple and effortless interaction; attuned to all human senses; adaptive to users and context; and autonomously acting.

The three underpinnings of ambient intelligence vision are: ubiquitous computing, ubiquitous communications, and intelligent / adaptive user interfaces.

Ubiquitous computing refers to embedding computers into the environment and everyday objects, making them invisible, to enable the users to interact with information and computing more naturally and casually than they currently do. One of the primary goals of ubiquitous computing is to enable devices to sense changes in their environment and to automatically adapt and respond to changes based on user needs and preferences. Ubiquitous communication is an important adjunct to ubiquitous computing. It enables the embedded computers in the environment to communicate with each other. Intelligent / Adaptive user interfaces encompass a perceptive computer environment, rather than one that relies solely on active and comprehensive user interfaces.

Some of the key aspects of the AmI vision are: a) natural, intuitive, yet richly interactive interface for communication with the environment, b) seamless integration of computers in the environment, c) shared use of multiple displays and services by multiple users with multiple devices, and d) use of computation to enhance the various activities in the environment.

Among the emerging and future interface technologies are: a) various extensions of natural languages/voice interfaces, including dialogue-based interaction, conversational-recommender systems, non-acoustic voice sensing and silent speech, b) vision-based interfaces, c) touchless interfaces, d) multi-touch interfaces, e) neuroelectric and brain-based interfaces, f) physiologic interfaces and g) multimodal interfaces.

Future display technologies will significantly enhance information portrayal. The spectrum of emerging display facilities range from handheld devices and wearable displays to three-dimensional autostereoscopic and volumetric displays.

AmI technologies will enable the development of smart rooms and intelligent spaces. They can revolutionize future learning; realize the new learning paradigm of pervasive blended learning, through the development of intelligent learning hubs and ambient learning spaces.

AmI can also significantly enhance future products, as well as the product lifecycle process. It can significantly enhance the platforms and environments used for the product creation; improve the knowledge about the product throughout its entire lifecycle; and enable the creation of intelligent integrated virtual product creation tools and facilities, encompassing computer-aided design, manufacturing, product planning, product testing, visualization, and other computer-aided design (CAD) and management tools (including product lifecycle management (PLM)).

The realization of the full potential of AmI requires the development of an ambient intelligence cyberinfrastructure to support global networks of interdisciplinary teams, with each network covering a broad spectrum of different disciplines, including nanotechnology, smart sensors, and actuators, complex distributed systems, wireless/mobile networks, cognitive science, novel computational paradigms, and intelligent intuitive interfaces.

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